TOEFL ibt Reading skills 2- Reference Questions 托福阅读技巧2 – 指代问题

Reference Questions have always been the headaches of some Chinese TOEFL ibt exam takers,partly because the Chinese language doesn’t put them that way when it comes to make a reference. As a clear understanding of references is vital in comprehending a passage,it surely will be heavily tested in the TOEFL ibt test which targeted a measurement of ability for successful academic study.



To improve reading, of course one needs to read a certain amount of stuff, but for taking the tests, there are some techniques, or tricks, I would like to put it that way because I don’t want students to take it for granted that tricks are better than wit when it comes to improve language skills.


First, lets take a look at an example,


32. The word “they” in line 4 refers to

(A) seasonal changes

(B) natural forces

(C) theories

(D) human beings


And the sentence in the passage is like this:

The argument for this view goes as follows. In the beginning, human beings viewed the natural forces of the world, even the seasonal changes, as unpredictable, and they sought through various means, to control these unknown and feared powers.

The traditional way of cracking this might be paying attention cracking on the grammatical structure of the sentence to identify the reference, but surely,a simpler way is to put the potential candidates from the questions in to the sentence to test.   In the sentence “they” act like the subject of the sentence with the verb of “sought through”, a verb clearly indicate the subject to be humane. Then the answer is much easier to be spotted.

按照传统的做题方法,我们需要很好的分析这句话的语法结构,从中间找到指代关系。但是另外一种更加快捷的做题方法就是把各个选项中的词汇带入句子当中进行测试。代词后面的谓语动词是sought through, 很显然,这个动词的主语一定要是人,到这里,答案就显而易见。

In English, when pronouns are asked to be identified, a simpler way to do this is to look at the verb, to think whether the reference of pronouns would work for the verb as subject or object.


Here are some more Questions for you to practice with this technique.


Last but not least, read more is always the ultimate way of improving reading, regardless of any tricks or techniques that helped you in any tests.


4. The word “They” in line 5 refers to

(A) houses

(B) bluffs

(C) walls

(D) families

Sentence: At least a dozen large stone houses took shape below the bluffs of Chiaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico. They were built with masonry walls more than a meter thick and adjoining apartments to accommodate dozens, even hundreds, of families.


15. The word “them” in line 17 refers to

(A) years

(B) hands

(C) pieces

(D) films


The suggestions became more explicit, and so emerged the musical cue sheet containing indications of mood, the titles of suitable pieces of music, and precise directions to show where one piece led into the next.

Certain films had music especially composed for them. The most famous of these early special scores was that composed and arranged for D. W. Griffith’s film Birth of a Nation, which was released in 1915.


24. The word “which” in line 7 refers to

(A) crusts

(B) kilometers

(C) plates

(D) continents

Sentence:The crusts and the top, solid part of the mantle, totaling about 70 to 100 kilometers in thickness, at present appear to consist of about 15 rigid plates, 7 of which are very large.




TOEFL ibt Reading Skill